NEO: The World Ends With You underperforms Square Enix's initial expectations
Square Enix today posted [PDF] its Outline of the Results Briefing held on November 5, 2021, which covers the six-month period of the current fiscal year ending on September 30, 2021.
Within the briefing, when discussing year-over-year declines in both the Digital Entertainment segment and HD Games sub-segment, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda stated that NEO: The World Ends With You did not meet the company's initial expectations.
The brief statement made is as follows:
While “NEO: The World Ends with You” was well received by users, it has underperformed our initial expectations.
In the broader picture, Square Enix states that while Outriders, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, NEO: The World Ends with You, and Life is Strange: True Colors all released within the six-month time period, sales overall were lower than in the same period of the previous fiscal year, largely due to Final Fantasy VII Remake and Marvel's Avengers releasing in 2020. In the briefing's Q&A session, Matsuda reiterated that "The reason that the Digital Entertainment segment’s operating margin declined is because some of the new titles that we released in 2Q substantially underperformed our initial expectations".
On the contrary, Square Enix does mention that net sales rose year-over-year in the MMO sub-segment, due to Final Fantasy XIV's current success in growing its subscriber number. With Endwalker right around the corner, Square Enix expects this sub-segment to continue to do well.
NEO: The World Ends With You released worldwide for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 27, followed by a PC release on September 28.
RPG Site was also very happy with NEO: The World Ends With You, giving it a glowing review at the time. It's perhaps worth noting the results period here ended on September 30, only two days after the game was released on Epic Games Store. Maybe a Steam release in the future could help bolster NEO's catalog sales, but for now, Square Enix is only hoping that it and other recently released titles will 'continue to sell well over the long term'.
On a somewhat similar note, Square Enix recently told us that the releases of Collection of SaGa and SaGa Frontier Remastered did indeed meet their expectations for sales, specifically noting that the number of Steam sales for the latter was especially surprising, though the Switch version still accounted for the largest percentage of overall sales.